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KMT blasts opposition disruption of Taipower budget as 'ambush'

KMT blasts opposition disruption of Taipower budget as 'ambush'

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) disrupted Thursday a budget review of state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), which operates the country's nuclear power plants, forcing the 2013 budget to be returned to the firm until further notice. In less than seven minutes after the review meeting was convened at the Legislature's Economics Committee, DPP lawmakers passed several motions and abruptly called an end to the meeting, catching the KMT attendees off-guard. The DPP motioned to send the budget back and to forbid allocating any further budget for the controversial fourth nuclear power plant construction project. They also motioned for an immediate stop to construction work at the site in New Taipei City. The motions were passed after the meeting's chair, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher, read them through several hours before the scheduled time, without meeting any objections from any of the committee members who were present at the time. Describing the process as an "ambush," KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun complained that the motions were not supposed to have been dealt with until noon, but the entire meeting ended abruptly at around 9 a.m. KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao said the KMT will propose a reconsideration of the motions at a March 25 meeting. In response, Taipower noted that the budget includes maintenance fees for its existing power plants and other personnel expenses, and not just expenses for its nuclear power plants. Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch, who was scheduled to brief lawmakers at the meeting, called the result "regrettable" and said differing party stances should not be allowed to get in the way of crucial budget reviews. The issue of Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant came to the fore after the Cabinet announced in late February that it will decide the plant's fate through a referendum, likely to be held late this year. A nationwide protest against nuclear power plants was held on March 9, two days before the second anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of northeastern Japan and caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. More than 200,000 people reportedly participated in the protest, according to the organizers and the local media, although police estimated the turnout at only around 66,000. (By Lin Meng-ju, Chen Hsun-hsieh and Ann Chen)


Updated : 2021-07-29 02:09 GMT+08:00